When two brothers fight and become lifetime enemies, ordinarily there is always one factor we would suspect could be responsible for this…a woman. Who would this woman be? A wife, girlfriend, fiance or maybe a stepmother (this would be a case where one child is hers and the other belongs to her co-wife).
But what would you have to say in a case where a mother, conceives and gives birth to two sons for the same man (whom she loves dearly), then goes ahead to become an element of chaos in their lives and even prefers one over the other?
Growing up from a Christian background, I attended Sunday school almost every week and it was there I learned the bible story of Esau and Jacob. Many of us know their story; from their conception to sibling rivalry which finally led to their dispute (the ripples of that rivalry is still felt up till date). We all know that Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of porridge but Mama Rebecca was not a party to that transaction so we cannot say she played a role in that. However, when it was time for Papa Isaac to release his last blessings upon his first born, Mama became a stumbling block.
Reasons given for this can be linked to the fact that from their conception God had said the older would serve the younger. Others claim it’s because Rebecca loved Jacob more than Esau (who was loved by his father). I even heard a version that says Rebecca did what she did because Jacob was the homely one and always helped mama while Esau cared less what happened at home but outside oriented.
All the reasons are true but I don’t think they are strong enough to push Rebecca to orchestrate a plan in cutting off her first born from his rightful blessings. Looking closely at the story preceding the final saga between both brothers, I discovered something interesting. It was told that when the twins clocked 40 years old, Esau decided to get married and against his parents warning, he married from the heathen tribes and not just one but two wives who tormented his parents!
Picture 100-year-old blind Isaac and 80-year-old frail Rebecca being bullied and ridiculed by their unbelieving daughters-in-law and 40-year-old unmarried Jacob left to console and care for his aged parents. Sad and annoying, isn’t it? Yet Isaac did not care about the pain and agony his son and their wives caused him, he still loved him dearly and felt it was the proper thing to do by giving him his last and final blessings.
When Rebecca overheard Isaac’s plan, she was strongly opposed to this. Now for a moment, I placed myself in Rebecca’s shoes and I could feel where it pinched.
“…Why would I let some wicked heathen girls inherit the divine blessings meant for my sons? Even if they cared nothing for me, what has my blind old husband done to deserve their wickedness?
My first son has only made matters worse by refusing to notice their actions and rebuking them. They have slowly bought his heart over to their heathen culture and religion. It breaks my heart terribly that I have lost him to the heathen…I cannot let the blessing of Abraham and Isaac be passed down to this heathen generation he has started.
Jacob is my consolation. He deserves it more. He has helped my frail and weak hands wash his father’s clothes, he has helped me cook his father’s meals. He has helped me tend the sheep and ensure his father’s business keeps blooming. All Esau cares for is hunting for animals and heathen girls in the wild. God’s blessings deserve a more homely and family oriented man…a man who is willing to listen and obey-Jacob. His name may mean supplanter, but I know he will listen to me and marry from a God-fearing family and he will be greater than his brother. Whatever it takes, I will do to make sure that it said for generations to come ‘you are blessed with the blessings of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’
Now where is Jacob?…it’s time for his recompense!”